Prosecutor must investigate Russian funding of Dutch political parties: experts
A Court of Audit investigation into possible Russian financing of Dutch politicians and political parties will not yield much, experts told television program Zembla. The Court of Audit has no investigative powers. Parliament should ask the Public Prosecution Service to investigate, they said in response to a successful GroenLinks motion for an investigation prompted by FvD leader Thierry Baudet's pro-Russia statements.
Bert van den Braak, professor of parliamentary history, has little expectations of a Court of Audit investigation. "I'm not very optimistic about that. Whether an oath of office has been violated, that is ultimately something for the judge to assess. The OM should institute prosecution against this. They are better equipped for this than the Court of Audit." The OM has investigative powers and can collect information itself, he explained to Zembla. The Court of Audit relies on information voluntarily provided.
Ben de Jong, an expert in espionage and the intelligence services, and Russia expert Hubert Smeets agreed that the Court of Audit wouldn't have much luck investigating this matter.
Van den Braak said that the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, can request an OM investigation based on the Ministerial Responsibility Act. At least five MPs have to submit the proposal to the Kamer. If a majority supports the proposal, the Kamer will ask the OM to investigate.
GroenLinks told Zembla that they asked for a Court of Audit investigation because a majority in parliament would support such an investigation. "But if the route through the OM is a promising route, GroenLinks is prepared to look into it," a spokesperson said.
This Zembla episode will broadcast at 8:25 p.m. on Thursday.